updated 12:40 pm EDT, Fri August 13, 2010
NVIDIA and Rambus call partial truce
NVIDIA today struck a licensing deal with Rambus to use its patents for some memory controllers. The deal will see Rambus collect a one percent royalty on single data rate controllers and two percent for any double data rate controllers, ranging from basic DDR up to parts of the GDDR5 used with the newest video cards. The deal doesn't involve any reciprocal licensing from NVIDIA.
Despite the license, the terms don't represent a settlement of any ongoing lawsuits or other legal action. Rambus is still hoping to collect damages after NVIDIA's graphics hardware allegedly violated its patents without permission. The deal may, however, avert a threatened ITC ban by setting up the necessary royalty deals.
Without a settlement or patent agreement, many computer builders and peripheral makers would have had to either switch to AMD cards or redesign systems with graphics built into the mainboard, such as notebooks or entry-level desktops. Apple would have been one of the most directly affected as it still has a long-term pact with NVIDIA; currently, GeForce graphics are standard in all MacBooks and the Mac mini.